Cage Warrior’s June 25th event at the SSE Arena in Belfast will be host to an intriguing fight for the 170-pound title. In this, we will see exciting, young talents Rhys McKee and Justin Burlinson battle it out to become champ. First reported by The Irish Mirror.
The event will be Cage Warrior’s Belfast debut. They were previously forced to cancel a scheduled event in the Northern Irish capital in May 2020. We still await the official Cage Warriors announcement for this one and other fights that will appear on the card. However, this looks to be solidified as the main event.
The title was vacated by UFC’s Ian Garry when he signed for the promotion in July 2021.
After his win at Cage Warriors 135 earlier this month, Justin Burlinson called for this fight and now has what he wanted. “I expect a title shot, nothing else, Rhys McKee in Belfast, June time,” he said after beating Daniel Skibinski in CW135’s main event.
Rhys McKee vs Justin Burlinson
Rhys McKee (11-4-1) should be a well-known figure to Cage Warriors fans. He has won every fight given to him in the promotion. 3 Cage Warriors wins he strung together in 2018-2019 earned him a shot in the UFC.
Unfortunately, two losses against high-level competition in Khamzat Chimaev and Alex Morono meant he did not earn a new UFC contract.
The fight that got him this prestigious title shot in his home country came in October 2021. A 3rd round finish over Aleksi Mäntykivi was enough for Cage Warrior’s matchmakers to give him a shot at gold. However, his previous success in the promotion will have also been a factor.
In his earlier career, Rhys gathered multiple 1st-round finish wins during his time at BAMMA. In his pro debut, he beat John Redmond via 1st round submission. Two fights later, he got a TKO victory over Tom McCafferty in round 1, and then another round 1 TKO against current UFC fighter Jai Herbert.
Justin Burlinson (7-1-0) will have just his third Cage Warriors fight when he goes for the belt in June. Two finishes over David Bear and Daniel Skibinski are his wins to note in the promotion so far.
After going 6-0 in his Cage Warriors debut, Justin chased a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series. However, it didn’t go his way, and he picked up his first pro loss to Yohan Lainesse. Following this, he has found success in a grappling bout and then his most recent win over Daniel Skibinski at CW135.
Who do you think goes home with gold in this one?